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The Electronic Communications Code

The code applies not only to telecommunication masts but to overhead or underground fibre cables, to broadband infrastructure and rooftop apparatus. It is a distinct legal regime for communications which is separate from compulsory law. The new code came into effect in December 2017, since when operators have tried to use it to reduce the rental payments they have been making to landowners. But landowners have been unwilling to agree, resulting in a form of stalemate. There is now some evidence that operators are starting to accept that they do have to pay a fair rent, on the basis of market value - that is, as between a 'willing buyer and a willing seller'. Although the final recourse to reach an agreement is with the Lands Tribunal, landowners are now encouraged to 'stand firm' and hold out for payments in line with those negotiated under the 'old code'.

There is a complicated process to follow to ensure the form of agreement protects the landowner's interests and addresses the matter of security of tenure for the operator. Your solicitor's help is recommended.

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